02 January 2009

Melting Ice and Snow Creatively

When the ice and snow come I plan to use plain old fertilizer from the farm supply store. It melts the problem without any salt damage.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story today about how creative Americans can be when they need to melt something and the price of salt seems too high.

The authors, Ilan Brat and Timothy Martin, said that towns are using molasses, garlic salt and a "rum-production byproduct that smells like soy sauce" instead of salt.

Evidently last winter the weather was so bad that prices went through the roof to $60 to $120 per ton up from last year's range of $30 to $50 a ton.

In Indiana salt truck computers calculate how much salt to drop to conserve the resource. In Hamilton County Ohio, near Cincinnati, the salt bids exceeded the entire county budget for the ice and snow removal. They are stretching the salt by mixing it with coal plant ash.

The garlic salt story is that a spice maker was dumping it in the the landfill, so in the spirit of waste not want not conservation, the city used it.

In Washington they combine de-sugared molasses with saltwater to clear roadways.

A town near Chicago bought salt and a de-icing compound from Sears Ecological Applications Co. that is made from rum-making leftovers. Using the manufacturing waste product reduced their salt bill by half.

If you are a gardener and or a conservationist, you will see all of this as terrific news. Molasses is known to improve the microbial activity of soil. This is a much better product to be melting into the earth than root-killing salt.

Instead of landfill, garlic salt and rum-production waste is being used productively? Hallelujah.

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